/wild_plant_fibres

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This page is a compendium on common wild plant fibres, along with other useful information, such as when they should be gathered, where they grow, how the fibres can be processed, and warnings, environmental or health-related.

Milkweed (Common)



This plant is found in most of North America, excluding the far west. It has a stem with wide, green leaves, and its branches hold no leaves, only follicles; all secrete a white latex when pinched while the plant is still green. Rough follicles hold their seeds; they open in Autumn, releasing puffs of milkweed floss, a type of fibre, (or more accurately, fluff,) which can be used for insulation. Aside from this, a delicate bast fibre can be harvested. In order to extract them, rub off the bark (if it is still soft) and use some form of retting to separate the fibres. Next, boil the fibres a few times, changing the water between, in order to remove any toxicity left. This will also soften the fibres. Wash your hands after handling it, as raw milkweed is toxic.
Please leave any milkweed which still has leaves attached. Other creatures, most famously the monarch butterfly, need them more than you do at this stage.